Hoping to increases its sales in an ever-growing market in Indonesia (which is expected to account for 2.3 million vehicles in ASEAN by 2019), Honda has unveiled its Honda Mobilio at the 2013 Indonesia International Motor Show. The Mobilio will fall under the MPV (Multi-purpose vehicle, or minivan) category, the highest selling category of vehicles in Indonesia.
Currently, Toyota and Daihatsu dominate the car-market in Indonesia. However, Honda hopes to change that fact by early next year with its new dedication to the ASEAN market: “This is the first time Honda developed a prototype especially designed for the Indonesian market. Working closely with Honda operations here to study the unique needs of Indonesian customers, this Honda Mobilio will fulfill the dreams of Indonesian customers for an affordable family car featuring Honda’s high standard of quality,” stated Takanobu Ito, president and chief executive of Honda Motors.
The main feature of the vehicle that has been built to suit the needs of the Indonesian people is the ground clearance. The Honda Mobilio will have a ground clearance of 185 mm (or 7.3 inches for us Americans), which will allow the Indonesians to comfortably navigate the cumbersome rural roads that populate a majority of the country.
Not only will the Mobilio have the proper ground clearance to make driving easier, it will also be able to carry up to 7 people with its 3-row seating (another crucial quality seeing as Indonesia has approximately only 75 million less people than the US while it is 1/5 of the total size of the US). The Mobilio will also sport a 1.5L SOHC i-VTEC engine, producing 188 hp and 6,600 rpm’s. While the Mobilio will not be the sportiest MPV of all time (the Nissan Cube probably holds that spot in the ASEAN market currently), the engine will certainly be powerful enough to navigate the crowded and rugged streets of Indonesia without much challenge.
The Mobilio will be equipped with either a 5-speed transmission or a CVT – a continuous variable transmission. The CVT option will fit the needs of an Indonesian market well, seeing as it is able to constantly adapt to the speed and power needs of its driver and terrain.
John Phillips, of Car and Driver, has given the Mobilio a fairly glowing review: Imagine driving a CVT-equipped tall Civic wagon and you’ve pretty well nailed the Mobilio experience… This vanette is most notable for a cockpit as beautifully finished as any American Acura’s—a warm and harmonious blend of velour, pebbled vinyl, brushed aluminum, and fake wood.”
Honda hopes that the creation of the Mobilio and its Brio Satya, a subcompact hatchback that qualifies for the countries Low-Cost Green Car tax reduction, will justify the expansion of its current plant-manufacturing-outcome from 60,000 to 80,000, along with the creation of a new plant which will be expected to produce 120,000 cars.
The Honda Mobilio will be released to the market with a price tag of $13,000 to $16,000 dollars, making it a very affordable option for the Indonesian market.
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